Letter from "Hammond" to Eliza Quilty
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- Correspondence, Quilty, Elizabeth "Eliza", United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865, United States - Army - Vermont Infantry Regiment, 2nd (1861-1865), Letters, Manuscripts
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- 2019-09-20 16:49:33
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Camp Californiai Va Sep 5th /62
your letter when we arived [sic] at Hamptonii we were tired and foot sore and your letter was a good substitute for refreshments. I could say for the first time that I was compleatly [sic] used up. we had to carry a prety [sic] good load, rubber blanket half tent five days rations in our haversacks forty rounds of amunition [sic] and equipments [sic] weighing about seventy five pounds. Some- times we would march eight or tenn [sic] miles without a halt and then we had nothing to eat but raw pork and hard crackers. if Kate had been here I dont [sic] think she could cook slapjacks fast anough [sic] for me just then, but we had to be content. it was all for the Union we came over the old Battle ground at Williamsborghiii [sic] there was unmistakable evidences that we had been there before. it was
like walking through a graveyard. (barring the toombstones [sic]) we then past through Yorktowniv I was verry [sic] tired but went about two miles to see the old revolutionary fortifications. they are a mere nothing compared to the works that we have thrown up in a single night before Richmondv. I suppose they were cawled [sic] good in their day, but we could walk over such works in twenty minutes. we next came through the imortal [sic], Great Bethelvi, where the first vermont [sic] covered themselves with glory (or something else) them works I didnot [sic] go to see they were too small potatoes. we next came to Hampton where I got your letter the next day we went to Fortress Monroevii where Billey met us and embarked on board the Niagaraviii and arived [sic] at Alexandriaix on the 24th of Aug and started for Bullrunx [sic] which we reached in time to par-
ticipate in the skedaddle perhaps I should say another, stradgetic [sic]- movement or a change of base of opporations [sic] for I suppose it is a fort Lafiettexi [sic], offence to acknoulage [sic] a defeat, we were not engaged so I can tell you nothing more than you can see in the papers. one thing I do know that our wounded came in by the hundred and they were none too well cared for, we are now under marching orders with three days rations in our haversacks, the tappsxii [sic] have just beat, which means lights out, so I with love to all I must bid you goodbye
P,S direct as before
i Camp California was a Union camp located just outside of Alexandria, VA. ii Hampton, VA was a city occupied by Union soldiers located near the Chesapeake Bay. iii On May 5, 1862, 32,000 Confederate soldiers led by General Longstreet and 41,000 Union soldiers led by General Hooker fought in Williamsburg, VA after the Confederates retreated from Yorktown, VA. The battle resulted in a stalemate, but the morning after the fighting was done the Confederates retreated back toward Richmond. 456 Union soldiers were killed, 1410 were injured and 373 went missing. 1570 Confederates were killed and wounded, with only 133 soldiers missing after the fighting ceased. iv Yorktown, VA was home to the final great land battle of the Revolutionary war. On September 28, 1781, General Washington encircled the city that lay on the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. He gathered 17,000 French and Continental troops to fight against the 9,000 British soldiers led by Cornwallis. Washington ordered his French ally Marquis de Lafayette to block any escape by land with 5,000 American troops. The French navy also blocked any escape by sea. After three weeks of nonstop canon and artillery fire, Cornwallis finally surrendered to Washington in the field on October 17, 1781. This signaled the end of the Revolutionary war in the American Colonies. v Richmond, VA housed the Confederate capital during the Civil War. The city was positioned very close to the Union capital in Washington. It was the center of the rail industry, military hospitals, and Prisoner of War camps. It also had a great deal of grain milling and iron manufacturing. Many confederate citizens flocked to the capital in search of safety from the fighting and possible employment. This led to civil unrest and riots due to the overcrowding. vi The battle of Great Bethel, also known as Big Bethel or Bethel Church, took place on June 10, 1861 and was the first land battle of the Civil War. Located between York County and Hampton, Great Bethel witnessed 3,500 Union soldiers battling 1,200 Confederates. Led by General Ebenezer Pierce, the Union troops attacked the Confederate outposts at Big Bethel. The Confederates retreated to their trenches near Big Bethel Church. The Union soldiers attacked from the front by the road and from the left flank of the trenches, but were pushed back both times. Eventually the Union troops retreated back to Hampton, giving the victory to the Confederates. vii Fort Munroe was located in Hampton, VA on a peninsula overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. The fort was under Union control, making it the only Northern military installation in the Upper South. It housed the headquarters for the Union department of Virginia and North Carolina. It was often called an “outpost of freedom within the Confederacy” because it would house refugee slaves escaping to the North. viii The USS Niagara was a Union ship armed with twelve large 11-inch Daulgren guns. It was called a “vessel of heavy draft” because it could not enter any harbors but rather had to stay on larger bodies of water. It acted as part of the Union blockade in the South. The vessel would warn foreign ships traveling to Southern ports of the impending blockade, but also fought and captured many boats that failed to follow the Unions orders to avoid certain ports or that belonged to the South. ix Union soldiers occupied Alexandria, VA during the Civil War. On May 24, 1861, Union troops traveled from Washington to Alexandria and overtook the city. Situated on the banks of the Potomac, the city was referred to as the “crossroads between North and South.” x On July 21, 1861 near Manassas, VA, the Battle of Bull Run marked the first major land battle in VA. General McDowell, leading the Union soldiers, marched from Washington on the Confederate army. The Confederates situated themselves behind Bull Run, beyond Centreville. McDowell attacked the Confederates left flank on Matthews Hill and forced them back to Henry Hill. The Confederate troops received aid when reinforcements arrived and broke the Unions right flank. The Union retreat quickly turned to chaos and returned to Washington on July 22, 1861 in a “shattered” state. xi Fort Lafayette was located in the New York Harbor. Built in 1822, the fort was originally named “Fort Diamond.” After the Revolutionary War, however, the name was changed to Fort Lafayette after Marquis De Lafayette, the famed French general who aided the Americans during the war. The fort was a quarter mile boat ride to the island it sat upon and housed Confederate prisoners of war and Southern politicians who openly voiced support of the Confederacy. Often called the “Broken Bastille” or the “American Bastille,” the fort was believed to be capable of holding 50 prisoners. During the Civil War, however, the fortress held at least double that. Here is a sketch of the fort from an issue of Harpers Weekly: http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1861/september/fort-lafayette.htm xii The “Taps” is a bugle call played at dusk in the military to signal lights out.
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